Johanna Konta diffuses Simona Halep storm after becoming first British woman to reach Wimbledon quarter-finals since 1984

 
Ross McLean
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Konta beat Garcia to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon (Source: Getty)

Poker-faced Johanna Konta played down any bad blood between herself and Wimbledon quarter-final opponent Simona Halep despite April’s ill-tempered Fed Cup match between Great Britain and Romania.

Sixth seed Konta, the favourite for the women’s singles title, will play Halep on Centre Court on Tuesday for a place in the last four after beating world No22 Caroline Garcia of France 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4.

Second seed Halep is the sole player left in the competition ranked higher than the 26-year-old after defeats for world No1 Angelique Kerber, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

Konta was reduced to tears during April’s Fed Cup showdown after being verbally abused by Romania captain Ilie Nastase and then the Constanta crowd, while Halep was less than sympathetic and claimed the fans were the innocent party.

Romania v Great Britain - Fed Cup: World Group II Play Off: Day One
Konta endured a difficult Fed Cup match against Romania in April (Source: Getty)

“I’m playing against another tennis player, another opponent,” said Konta. “I’m not playing against a crowd. I’m not playing against a past experience.

“They were not in my shoes. They were not being verbally threatened. I think it’s very difficult for them to understand my position in it.

“That’s many, many months ago now. I’m looking forward to playing against Simona Halep, who is playing well right now.”

Konta weathered a feisty retort from Garcia in the second set during Manic Monday to triumph on Court No1 and become the first British woman to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984.

The trailblazing world No7’s quest to become the tournament’s first female British winner for 40 years – Virginia Wade was crowned champion in 1977 – was handed further momentum by the demise of a number of top seeds.

“It’s very exciting. It’s another step forward to being involved in the event for the full two weeks,” added Konta. “I’ve dreamed of it ever since I was a little girl, to be a grand slam champion.

“But right now I’m in the quarter-final stage. I’m playing against an incredibly tough opponent next. That’s my next battle.”

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Kerber crashed out in the last 16 (Source: Getty)

Victory for Halep over Konta would see the 25-year-old, a semi-finalist on the SW19 lawns in 2014, seize the world no1 ranking from the grasp of Kerber.

That follows her 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 defeat of former world No1 Victoria Azarenka and Kerber’s 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 loss to big-hitting Garbine Muguruza of Spain. Kerber will relinquish her No1 ranking come what may after an underwhelming 2017.

There were also victories for five-time champion Venus Williams, French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, world No87 Magdalena Rybarikova and America’s Coco Vandeweghe.

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